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South Luangwa NP, Zambia

Leopards of Luangwa

£3,995 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: October 7th - October 13th, 2022

Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.

Prices: £3,995 pp sharing (with a £700 single supplement)​, excluding international flights.

In a sentence: Luangwa is leopard paradise; add African Wild Dogs, Lion and Elephant into the mix, and this becomes a game-viewing destination that's hard to beat.

Overview

South Luangwa is a spectacular destination for first-time visitors to Africa and hardened safari enthusiasts alike. Keystone species are present in remarkable numbers and guests are very likely to encounter Leopard and Lion on multiple occasions. The gentle Bush Elephants are also sure to provide memorable sightings and, if lucky, visitors may even come across the endangered and beautiful African Wild Dog.

South Luangwa is also well-known for its rare endemic subspecies, including Thornicroft's Giraffe, Cookson's Wildebeest and Crawshay's Zebra, as well as ample opportunities for night drives. It is on these night drives that smaller residents such as Bushy-Tailed Mongoose, Four-Toed Sengi or even Caracal might be flushed out.

Our base in South Luangwa is the delightful Nkonzi Camp. Situated away from the main game-viewing area, guests staying here often have sightings of Leopard, Lion and African Wild Dog all to themselves, a rare luxury! Nkonzi is, though, just a twenty-minute drive from the Mfuwe area, where Leopard sightings are particularly frequent. Nkonzi also allows us to get out into the bush on foot, and should we bump into large predators, the rush of encountering such wildlife on a walking safari is hard to beat!

Itinerary

Day One

Lusaka

On arrival into Lusaka, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to your hotel (Radisson Blu or similar). Once everyone is settled in, we will have dinner followed by a briefing of what to expect of your Zambian safari.

Day Two

South Luangwa

A very early start this morning as we are transferred back to Lusaka Airport for our 90 minute flight to Mfuwe. Arriving by mid-morning, we will then be transferred directly to Nkonzi Camp, deep inside South Luangwa, where we should arrive by early afternoon. 

Nkonzi Camp is made up of safari tents, each complete with an open-air en suite and shower. The camp itself is situated next to a small riverbed that attracts numerous dry-country species including Eland and Hartebeest (which translates to 'Nkonzi' in the local language). There is a main tent from which these species can be viewed, complete with a dining area, seating area and bar.

This afternoon presents us with our first opportunity to explore the area around camp by vehicle. The area around Nkonzi is particularly good for Lion, African Wild Dog and Cookson's Wildebeest, as well as the Leopards for which Luangwa is so famous. As darkness sets in, we will head to the main game-viewing area at Mfuwe, where Leopard sightings are commonplace. Other sightings are likely to include Thornicroft's Giraffe, Puku, Crawshay's Zebra, Bush Elephant, Savanna Buffalo and perhaps even Honey Badger and Bushy-Tailed Mongoose.

Our evening will be spent enjoying the delicious food at Nkonzi, and perhaos listening out for the resident Leopards sawing, and the haunting 'hoo calls' of African Wild Dogs

Days Three to Six

South Luangwa

Four full days in South Luangwa will allow us plenty of time to explore this fantastic park. Each morning and afternoon will be filled with either a game drive or walking safari, and we will have at least one opportuntiy for a full-day game drive to investigate more remote areas of the park. We can choose to focus on species and locales according to the appetite of the group. Our plans will remain flexible, as you never know what wildlife may move through the area - African Wild Dogs and Leopards can pop up in the most unexpected of areas!

Day Seven

Lusaka

We have an early flight back to Lusaka today, so we must sadly leave Nkonzi at dawn. We are sure we will have plenty of fabulous memories and photographs in tow! 

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in October 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. This is also the best time to search for African Wild Dogs, as they will just have left their dens with new puppies. The tour will run from October 7th to October 13th.

The cost of this trip is £3,995 per person excl. international flights. This includes all meals (excl. Lusaka), accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. All drinks except for premium brands are included. We regret that there must be a £700 single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,300 plus any single supplement must be paid.

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Lusaka at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Lusaka after 14.00 on your return to avoid disruption to your plans.

British nationals do require a visa to enter Zambia. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for the Zambia will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Zambia entry visa for UK citizens is $50 - these can be obtained from the Zambian High Commission in London, or upon arrival into Lusaka. To acquire a tourist visa for Zambia before travel you will require a valid passport, two passport photos, a completed application form and a copy of your itinerary.

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in Zambia in October is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 36 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 19 degrees Celsius.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat. Importantly, if you are allergic to insect bites, you must make us aware and carry your Epipen with you at all times - Tsetse flies are abundant in South Luangwa and bites should be expected. 

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.

Safety and Security

There are currently no security concerns in any of the areas visited in this itinerary.

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